Coast Guard warns of consequences for false mayday calls

Justice ThumbWARRENTON, Ore. – The Coast Guard is warning individuals who make false mayday reports to the Coast Guard, that there are consequences to those actions.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Command Center personnel have received four potentially false mayday calls in the last two weeks.

“Hoax calls waste valuable time and resources, but most importantly it potentially puts responding personnel in danger and can interfere with legitimate search and rescue cases,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erika Barron, command center chief, Sector Columbia River. “With busy spring and summer boating seasons, false distress calls can divert essential resources when they are needed elsewhere to ensure the safety of the public.”

The Coast Guard reminds the public that making a hoax call to the Coast Guard is a crime punishable by up to 6 years in prison; a $250,000 criminal fine, a $5,000 civil fine, and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for operating costs incurred. The hourly standard rates for Coast Guard assets can be found at Coast Guard Reimbursable Standard Rates.

If a mayday call, actual or potentially false, is heard, boaters are encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard unit and relay what they heard.

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